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Russia vs Saudi Arabia Highlights, FIFA World Cup 2018, Match 1 in Moscow: Hosts off to dream start with 5-0 win

Catch all the latest updates from the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

FP Sports June 14, 2018 19:23:19 IST
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Russia vs Saudi Arabia Highlights, FIFA World Cup 2018, Match 1 in Moscow: Hosts off to dream start with 5-0 win

Highlights

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June 14, 2018 - 22:49 (IST)

Thank you for being with us tonight!

We'll be back tomorrow as Uruguay take on Egypt in a Group A clash at 3.30 pm IST followed by Iran's Group B clash with Morocco at 8.30 pm IST. The night will be capped off with a mouthwatering clash between rivals Spain and Portugal at 11.30 pm. Keep following Firstpost as we bring you all the latest news from the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Dasvidanya!

June 14, 2018 - 22:43 (IST)

FT! Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

Here's a quick recap of the match:

Denis Cheryshev scored twice as Russia swept aside Saudi Arabia to open their home World Cup with a 5-0 win. After a lavish opening ceremony and with President Vladimir Putin watching on, Yuri Gazinsky put Russia ahead with a header off Alexander Golovin's cross in the 12th minute. Substitute Cheryshev, who came on for the injured Alan Dzagoev, chipped the ball over two Saudi defenders in the 43rd minute and then fired it high to goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf's right.

Artyom Dzyuba made an instant impact off the bench to make it 3-0 in the 71st with a header off Golovin's cross. In stoppage time, Cheryshev slammed the ball in for Russia's fourth goal in stoppage time and Golovin made it 5-0 from a free kick. It was Russia's first World Cup win since 2002 and ended a seven-game winless run in all matches.

June 14, 2018 - 22:39 (IST)

FT! Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

Well deserved award but Alexandr Golovin with his goal and two assists could have also been a worthy winner.

June 14, 2018 - 22:35 (IST)

FT! Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

They definitely didn't imagine that scoreline!

June 14, 2018 - 22:29 (IST)

FT! Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

June 14, 2018 - 22:28 (IST)

FT! Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

Fantastic start to the tournament!

June 14, 2018 - 22:27 (IST)

FT! Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

This is the dream start Russia feared to imagine. But a 5-0 win on the opening day is a massive boost for a team which has not experienced similar joy on the football pitch for a long time. Saudi Arabia are shell-shocked. So are Russia, with happiness.

June 14, 2018 - 22:26 (IST)

90+3` Golovin scores Russia's fifth

And it just got louder. As if Golovin had not been extraordinary enough, he now places a free kick into the right corner from just outside the box.

June 14, 2018 - 22:25 (IST)

90+1` Russia 4-0 Saudi Arabia

Denis Cheryshev has scored another really good goal. This is probably better than his first football. An outside of the boot finish off Dzyuba's knockdown to raise the noise inside the Luzhniki a few notches.

June 14, 2018 - 22:25 (IST)

92` Russia 4-0 Saudi Arabia

Taisir Al-Jassim becomes the first player to go into the referee's book as Russia get a free kick right on the edge of the box.

Nobody would have hand picked the tournament's two worst teams to launch the 2018 World Cup, but when Russia and Saudi Arabia meet on Thursday form will be irrelevant as the world’s biggest sporting festival explodes into life in Moscow.

Hosts Russia, and Saudi Arabia are the two lowest-ranked teams at the tournament by some distance and they are both in dire form. But their clash will set the tone for the global showpiece.

Russia vs Saudi Arabia Highlights FIFA World Cup 2018 Match 1 in Moscow Hosts off to dream start with 50 win

Russia captain Igor Akinfeev and Saudi Arabia captain Osama Hawsawi. AFP

Partly due to a lack of competitive matches, Russia have slipped to 70th in the FIFA rankings, which sounds shockingly low for a World Cup team until you glance up to see the Saudis, despite securing automatic qualification from a competitive Asian confederation, at 67.

Despite failing to win in seven matches stretching back to October 2017, the hosts still have realistic hopes of making it to the second round for the first time in more than 30 years after being drawn in a group also containing Egypt and Uruguay.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov has been working overtime trying to rebuild his team, particularly defensively, after a cruel run of serious injuries to some of his most experienced operators, but the tournament has arrived without him showing much evidence of progress.

His team last tasted success via a 4-2 victory over South Korea - and even that win needed two own goals - and their most recent warm-ups brought defeat by Austria and a 1-1 draw with Turkey.

In those games, Russia’s laboured build-up play and careless passing looked light-years away from the irresistible, quicksilver side that lit up the European championship a decade ago.

That 2008 tournament, in which they reached the semi-finals, is something of an island of success for a nation who failed to qualify for the World Cups either side of it and made no impression in 2014 when they finished behind Belgium and Algeria.

That historical and recent lack of form means that few in Russia are holding out much hope of glory on home soil but the players will almost certainly be lifted by the occasion and by finally getting their teeth into a competitive match.

They also have a puncher’s chance in the shape of striker Fyodor Smolov, who has become a scoring machine since being left out of the squad in 2014.

With more than 60 goals over the last three seasons for his club Krasnodar, if his teammates can get enough possession to supply him then Smolov knows how to finish.

If they are going to do it against anyone then it should be against a Saudi team coming off the back of successive friendly losses to Italy, Peru and Germany, though they showed patches of encouraging form and did beat Algeria and Greece in May.

The domestically based Saudi squad is desperately short of international exposure and the experiment of sending nine players on loan to Spanish clubs for the second half of the season proved something of a disaster. Most failed to play at all with a handful being given a few token minutes in the final games of the campaign.

Their World Cup pedigree is dire, too. This is their first appearance since 2006 and in their last three tournaments they lost seven and drew two of their group games.

Russia could not have hoped for a more gentle start, but Cherchesov knows the players and the public need to discover some confidence.

“I am not a therapist able to reassure anyone,” he said after the Turkey draw.

“We are making progress and our main task is to believe in ourselves. We also need the fans to believe in us.”

With inputs from Reuters

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